DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — A Dayton veteran who spent his life giving back to others is turning 100 years old next month, and his family and friends are asking for the community’s help with a special birthday surprise.

Master Sergeant Richard Gard will be turning 100 on April 6, and his loved ones are asking the community to send him birthday cards. They are collecting the cards for the big reveal on his birthday.

You can mail a card to: M/Sgt Richard Gard, c/o 70 Pine Street, Franklin, OH 45005

Master Sergeant Richard Gard was born April 6, 1923 in the Ohio half of Union City, and his family settled in the Dayton area.

He met his future wife, Gladys, while roller skating in Dayton. Upon his completion of basic training, Gladys traveled to Louisiana where they were married prior to his deployment overseas. They will celebrate their 79th wedding anniversary in June.

Landing in Normandy on D-Day+3, Master Sergeant Gard participated in the breakout from the beachhead through France to Brest.

During the Battle of the Bulge, he was awarded the Silver Star for gallantry in action. In addition, he earned two Bronze Stars and the Purple Heart, as well as decorations from Bastogne, Belgium and France.

Master Sergeant Gard was recalled to active duty for the Korean War in 1950. After the war, he earned an engineering degree from the University of Dayton.

In addition to the cards, a birthday parade will be held for Master Sergeant Gard on April 6 at 5:30 p.m. starting on Pearhill Drive in West Carrollton.

The parade will feature Centerville VFW Post 9550, West Carrollton Police and Fire, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, Harold Schnell Elementary, West Carrolton Marching Band, plus a flyover from a 1943 PT-19A Cornell warplane by the Butler County Warbirds.